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Former Reds Utility Player Ryan Freel Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

The 36-year old was found in his Jacksonville, Florida home the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

 

Cincinnati Reds hats & apparel Ryan Freel, a former utility player who played in 544 games for the Cincinnati Reds, was found dead in his Jacksonville, Florida home on Saturday afternoon according to a report from the Florida Times-Union. Freel played baseball professionally from 2001 until 2009 when injuries forced him to cut his career short. Often noted for his reckless style of playing in the field, Freel spent most of his career playing centerfield, but occasionally saw time at both third and second base due to his versatility. As a defensive player, Freel was often known to dive hard for balls in all areas of the outfield, as well as diving into the stands and crashing into outfield walls to make a play. Freel was also known to have the occasional collision with a teammate, and after one particularly jarring collision with Norris Hopper in 2007, he suffered a concussion, one of several that Freel suffered during his eight-year career.

To his teammates, Ryan was often looked at as a funny, light-hearted albeit curious fellow, but Freel also had a troubled side as well. He was arrested twice for alcohol-related offenses, and teammates often found him talking to himself, something that Freel would often attribute to an imaginary friend named “Farney” whom he would often tell teammates he was talking to when they asked about his ramblings.

Freel leaves behind a wife, Christie and at least two daughters. He becomes the latest in a series of professional sports figures who have committed suicide over the past few years. In May, former NFL star Junior Seau was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he too suffered several concussions over the years and many will likely point to that as a possible cause for Freel’s death as well. Former athletes dealing with health problems and concussions have become the topic of much conversation as of late, and studies are undergoing to see how many negative effects playing sports have on the human brain and the human body. For Ryan Freel and his family, the studies and their results did not come soon enough, and one can only hope that we will not see more cases like this in the future.

 

 

By: Robert Gonzalez
MLBCenter.com Staff Writer

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